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August 2019

Acta Paediatr Suppl. 1992 Sep; 381(): 55-65.

The child's disease (Doença de criança): popular paradigm of persistent diarrhea?

Nations M.

Tropical Institute of Applied Social Medicine, Fortaleza, Brazil.

According to popular report, the folk illness, Doença de criança (The Child's Disease) is the leading cause of infant and childhood death in Northeast Brazil; most health professionals, however, are unaware it exists. Doença de criança is described based on ethnographic interviews with 50 traditional healers and 50 bereaved mothers whose children have died from the condition. Doença de criança is a sociocultural label developed by the popular medical system and applied to the end stages of severe childhood infectious diseases and malnutrition against a background of grinding poverty. Doença de criança is discussed as an analog to persistent diarrhea. Practical treatment and management implications of this relationship are presented. Doença de criança, most importantly, offers a new, holistic paradigm for the future study of persistent diarrhea.


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